The sound of a striking match. The pause while waiting for the water to boil. Pulling on your boots before stepping outside for a constitutional walk. It’s the little moments that come together to create the rhythm of our lives. If you can recognise these seemingly insignificant actions as an opportunity for simple pleasure, you invite meaning and focus into your world.
A ritual is an action that is sequenced, repeated and elevated with meaning. From ancient ceremonies to coming-of-age traditions in far-flung societies, rituals have always given structure to human experience. At Southern Wild Co, we do certain things each day that have an anchoring effect. We embrace the good feelings that these occasions bring. We feel grounded, centred and just that little bit more pulled together after mindfully going through the motions.
Read on as we reveal the daily, weekly and yearly practices we hold close.
There is nothing more life-affirming than starting the day immersed in nature, breathing the clean air, taking purposeful, steady steps and allowing the quiet to bring some clarity to a busy mind. Every morning, we take the time out to go for a walk each day, usually as the sun climbs, and always with Boris the chocolate lab by our side and a camera in hand.
The morning mists and golden rising rays skim and settle across the undulating land. The moods and outlooks shift by the hour, by the minute, and there is always something to observe. Southern Wild Co was born out of a desire to share the evocative nature of Australia. Our ideas are inspired by moving in flow with the changes in the weather and the environment – the sense of the bush and the freedom of it – it’s so beautiful out here. A daily walk is a faithfully upheld ritual in the SWC world.
Candles have been used to illuminate, signify and inspire for millennia and are a mainstay in many rituals, religious, spiritual or otherwise. Of course, candles heavily feature in the patterns of our daily activity. Lighting candles first thing in the morning is akin to gently waking the Shedquarters up from its slumber and glowing candles on our desk aid concentration. We burn candles to test scents and waxes but always take a moment to observe the flame’s hypnotic flicker.
We’re currently working on a range of new essential oil blends and love to burn these first thing in the morning to set our daily intentions. Australian tea tree, lemon and sage is a favourite blend and is great for rebalancing, cleansing and focus. It’s our way of getting the brain-engine revving and it clears the air and sets the tone for the day.
The Southern Wild Co team is made up of devout tea drinkers and our days always start with a strong brew of English Breakfast, followed by a beautiful degustation of teas into the afternoon. We love Australian native blends and aromatic digestive teas that contain mint or fennel. Around 3pm, we stop for a regroup and have Assam, which is lovely and smoky and a good pick me up. The tea is sipped slowly to calm the mind and focus thoughts and is often accompanied by flicking through books and magazines for inspiration.
If it isn’t the intoxicating scents of our candles filling the Shedquarters, it’s often the mouthwatering aromas of a hearty meal. While our working days are jam-packed with the busyness of business, taking the time out to recharge and refuel is important to us and we take our food very seriously!
Ingredients are sourced from local farmers and growers markets, foraged in the wilderness, or pulled from the bountiful veggie patch by the Shedquarters. The proliferation of tomatoes and eggplants in summertime leads to lots of meals of eggplant parmigiana (we love the recipe from Mimi Thorisson’s book Old World Italian), while Autumn brings a colossal harvest of figs. A favourite is a salad of fresh goat’s cheese, baby beets and fresh figs from the tree (from Damian Pignolet’s famous Bistro Moncur) accompanied by a roast organic chook. We’re also a little bit famous for our slow-cooked fennel and chilli lamb shoulder and love to serve it with a salsa verde made with homegrown herbs and crunchy organic roast potatoes from our friends Brian and Rhonda up the road. Sourcing food close to home is really important to us!
Whether you are a cat person or a dog person (or a bird, fish or guinea pig person), there’s no question that our furry (or feathery or scaly) friends add structure to our day. Besides blessing us with hours of entertainment and their special kind of unconditional love, pets give us a sense of purpose. They are the ultimate enforcers of rituals. You only need to witness Boris’s hot-pawed shuffle and pleading looks as soon as the sun goes down to know it’s his dinner time. He is definitely a guy who runs on a strict schedule of meals, naps and non-negotiable walks.
As any ‘work hard, play hard’ devotee will attest, there is nothing quite like a tipple and a cheese board to signify the end of the working week. Come Friday evening, you will find us sipping G&T’s or crisp white if the mercury is up, or for the snowy, frosty season, a lush red wine or a warming amber whiskey. And, of course, delectable nibbles are mandatory. Cheese addicts through and through, we adore raw milk cheeses. We’re huge fans of the Robertson-based Pecora Dairy and their ethos of gentleness on the land, towards their ewes, and in the production of their cheese. We also adore the hard work they put into advocating for, and promoting, raw milk homegrown cheeses. We’re looking forward to following their journey as they grow.
Finally, a birthday celebration is a special ritual that is universally shared. Southern Wild Co recently turned three, and was marked with an afternoon tea in the garden under a wintery sun. Delicious cakes (thank you to Georgina from Bimlow Cottage and the multi-talented photographer, Sue Stubbs) and wines were laid out, and the natter and laughs continued into the evening. Here’s cheers to many more SWC birthdays ahead!